South Africa has become the first African country to join the global Startup Nations network, aimed at contributing towards building a robust entrepreneurship ecosystem and vibrant sustainable entrepreneurship culture.
Startup Nations South Africa (SUNSA) is a collaborative effort by founding partners The Innovation Hub, the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) and the Wits Business School, and joins a global network which includes Startup Britain, Startup Chile, Startup Malaysia, Startup China, Startup Norway and Startup Australia.
The project is focused on advancing the national agenda for entrepreneurship and the creation of a sustainable environment where startups and small businesses can meaningfully contribute to the economic and social development of South Africa, with SUNSA to work closely with an international network of entrepreneurship capacity development experts to advance the local entrepreneurship movement.
“The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) 2012 annual survey reminds us that entrepreneurship levels in our country are the lowest they have been in three years. The call to action is for all of us to work hard to inculcate a culture of entrepreneurship in the country. We must consciously strive to build a nation of entrepreneurs and not a nation of job-seekers,” Lindiwe Zulu, minister of small business, said at the launch event.
“In the spirit of vukuzenzele, our people must seize the economic opportunities presented by our democracy and freedom to build and grow businesses. We see small businesses and co-operatives as critical to creating an economy that benefits all. It is through this intervention that we will be able to defeat the triple challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality.”
SUNSA will focus on creating a national collaboration platform between public sector, private sector, academia and civil society.
“Cultivating entrepreneurship is vital for generating inclusive growth in South Africa. Startup Nations South Africa is an extremely important initiative because it will create the conditions for entrepreneurs to flourish and showcases what can be achieved through collaboration between the public and private sectors, and civil society.” said Professor Steve Bluen, director and head of school at Wits Business School.